With the turning of the calendar into May, a number of seasonal rituals get underway. In the United States, we have baseball, hayfever, and garage sales – the latter of which is also a time-honored tradition in Australia. Two years ago, a new twist was added to formula and the Garage Sale Trail was blazed with 126 simultaneous sales staged in Bondi Beach. Then, “to scale the idea nationally in 2011, the Garage Sale Trail team partnered with 24 local councils across Australia, as well as corporate partners including Vodafone, Stockland, and LJ Hooker. A staggering 1,608 registered garage sales were held simultaneously around the country.”
The 2011 Trail was a massive success, and this year's May 5 happening looks to raise the bar even higher. Partners include Community Engine, PayPal, TrueLocal, The Thousands, ABC Local Radio, and 1 Degree. With only a few more days to go, more than 5,000 registrants are set to sell and/or exchange nearly half-a-million items, thereby keeping them out of landfills. While reducing waste is certainly one of the key and honorable goals of the Garage Sale Trail, the program's other notable impact is felt through its ability to “enable the peer-to-peer exchange of assets, resources, and money on a hyper-local level but with national scale.” Further still, according to Garage Sale Trail's founder, Darryl Nichols, “We've been inundated with stories of neighbours meeting for the first time, purchases made, friendships forged, and communities coming together for day which was super social and high on fun!” In essence, Garage Sale Trail sits at the intersection of “sustainability, creativity, community, and micro-enterprise.”
The instigators of the Trail have created a solid technological platform to make participating an easeful experience for all. As registrants add their sales and details – what kind of group is hosting, what kinds of items will be offered, and where it will be – shoppers can search the listings and target the spots that meet their needs, bookmarking them to via the “My Trail” feature. The item categories include things like electronics, automotive, musical instruments, furniture, books and zines, and vintage. “The Man Sale” in Surry Hills currently tops the website's Leaderboard of listings and reassures the gents that they, too, can enjoy the Trail: “Got a day of Garage Sale Trail shopping planned but need a pit stop? You have found your man sanctuary. Browse for items that you actually want to buy while we play music you dig as you down cold drinks and feast on our meat BBQ. Because You're worth it.” To counter that machismo, the “Kardashian Klean Up” sale in Pagewood promises “THE fashionable mother of all garage sales.”
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